Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez 3rd said Monday the “prompt and substantial” financing extended by the Philippines’ multilateral partners for its coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccination program will help accomplish the government’s target of inoculating 70 million Filipinos or 100 percent of the adult population.
Dominguez said the government is fully committed to accelerating the rollout of its national vaccination program in order to safely reopen the economy and restore the jobs lost since Covid-19 sparked a pandemic last year.
“On behalf of the Philippine Government, I express my deepest gratitude to the World Bank (WB), the Asian Development Bank (ADB), and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) for extending a total of $1.2 billion in financing for the procurement of safe and effective Covid-19 vaccines for the Filipino people,” Dominguez said this morning at the virtual launching of these loans via Zoom.
Dominguez said that under the terms of these loans, the multilateral institutions will help the Philippine government purchase the vaccines through their stringent procurement rules and guidelines and then pay the vaccine suppliers directly.
The financing packages will also follow global best practices on safeguard measures, Dominguez said.
He said the swift response of the WB, ADB and AIIB to the Philippines’ call for support reflects their confidence in the government’s capability to effectively implement its Covid-19 response measures, including the national vaccination program.
The government, through the Department of Finance (DOF), has secured the following loans totalling US$1.2 billion (around P58.4 billion) for Covid-19 vaccine procurement: 1) US$500 million for the Philippines’ Covid-19 Emergency Response Project—Additional Financing (PCERP-AF) from the WB; 2) US$400 million Second Health System Enhancement to Address and Limit Covid-19 (HEAL 2) under the Asia Pacific Vaccine Facility of the ADB; and 3) US$300 million HEAL 2 loan from the AIIB.
“We appreciate our multilateral partners’ responsiveness and flexibility in providing appropriate and timely financing support to cater to our specific needs during this pandemic. They stood side by side with us throughout this battle by giving us the ample ammunition we need to quickly recover from this health crisis,” Dominguez said.
GIVING FULL SUPPORT
ADB Vice President Ahmed Saeed said the ADB, along with the WB and AIIB, “will need to work with our developing member countries and vaccine suppliers to ensure equitable and timely access to vaccine supplies.”
He said the government’s vaccine rollout “has gone well in recent weeks” but Covid-19 remains a “potent and formidable foe.”
“The world simply does not have enough vaccines and, on top of that, wealthy nations are building stockpiles through precommitment of most of the production that will become available over the next six months. This has made it difficult for developing countries to secure vaccines and is leading to slow vaccine rollouts,” Saeed said.
WB Vice President for East Asia and the Pacific Victoria Kwakwa said the goal of the additional financing for the PCERP “is to provide the country with additional resources to roll-out vaccines at scale as a new important layer of protection to save lives, maintain livelihoods, and to allow Filipinos to gradually return to their jobs, their schools, and to be around their friends and families.”
“At the Bank we are honored to be part of this effort, honored to be standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the Philippines and its partners in moving this effort forward,” she added.
AIIB Vice President for Investment Operations, D.J. Pandian pointed out that its co-financing with the ADB for HEAL 2 “aligns with AIIB’s commitment to support its members in responding to the Covid-19 crisis.”
“It constitutes a critical element of the Philippines’ public health response to the Covid-19 pandemic by providing timely access to eligible vaccines that would help accelerate economic and social recovery in the country,” Pandian said.